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Imagine adversity as a giant boulder.

And as you walk on through your life, you occasionally come across a boulder.

What do you do?

As far as I see it, you have three options:

You can ignore it

This is the worst choice. Don’t do this. If you ignore that boulder, it will probably just slowly roll after you. Best case scenario: it just adds more and more mass like a snowball rolling down a snowy hill. Worst case scenario: full on Indiana Jones.

You can walk up to it and push

You can attempt to move that boulder, to push it away to where it is no longer in your path, or even in your line of sight. This can be really satisfying, this can be really successful, this can work, this can fail. It is a choice you have to make, do you move it or will it crush you if you fail?

Once you put your shoulder into that boulder, it will only go one of two ways: complete the removal, or loosen that boulder.

Recognize the boulder, acknowledge it, but find a way around it

It might sound like I am pushing one way or the other. But honestly, all three are the correct choice at some point. The first choice really is the worst. I would say avoid that if you can, but sometimes, it is unavoidable. The second choice seems bad too, but it is the only way to clear away those boulders at all. And the third choice is the best choice, but sometimes it just isn’t enough.

I find that understanding my adversity is a better method to dealing with it than trying to get over it (I’m honestly not sure that is possible) or hoping it will go away without doing anything.

But some obstacles simply need to be removed. And when you acknowledge a boulder, and then recognize it again and again, it is probably time to lean your shoulder in and push.

And likewise, some obstacles just need to be ignored. No matter how much you acknowledge it, it continues to appear, and you know it is far too large or difficult to remove. That is a good time to just let it go. Move on, get over it, think of anything else.

All three methods are viable, and should be used appropriately.

The mindfulness approach, of recognizing and continuing to walk away, that is the trendy approach right now. And honestly, I think it is best. Some adversity is simply going to be there no matter what you do. And, oddly enough, there can be a strange beauty to the landscape created by the boulders you understand are there, and are left alone.

And just like real boulders, time will wither them whether you are active in that or not.

Why not let time do the work you would put your shoulder to?

However, like any zen garden, manicuring the landscape is essential. Remove the boulders you can or need to. Leave the ones that are ok to understand but leave alone, and find beauty of the landscape.

Even if it is littered with boulders.

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